Diet planning is a way to plan meals and snacks that meet your personal nutrition goals. It can help you to lose weight, manage your blood sugar or just eat healthier. It involves a combination of simple steps, including making a meal plan, shopping strategically, and preparing food ahead of time to enjoy throughout the week. It can also be a great way to save money by planning for the meals you’ll be eating and reducing food waste.
A meal plan is a written list of the foods you will eat for each day or week. It should include the type and amount of each food you will eat. A meal plan can be for an entire week or for just one day, and it may be based on a particular diet or nutritional program. Meal plans can also be a tool for managing chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
In general, meal plans are based on the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for each nutrient and a usual intake distribution. EARs have been developed to provide guidance for the dietary planning of individuals and groups, but are not designed to predict an acceptable probability of nutrient inadequacy.
Dietary planning has been shown to reduce the likelihood of an insufficient intake (under-nutrition). However, for some nutrients, a high probability of inadequacy remains even after careful dietary planning. Consequently, it is essential that diet planners continue to work towards an adequate intake.
Many people try to improve their diet by planning their meals. While this can be helpful, it is important to keep in mind that a diet should not be a short-term change but a long-term lifestyle. Diets that are too restrictive may result in a lack of energy and can cause you to miss out on key nutrients.
To make the most of your meal planning, it’s a good idea to cook meals that take longer to prepare on the weekends, such as casseroles and soups. This will free up more time during the week to focus on cooking meals that are quicker to prepare, such as grilled chicken and vegetable salads. When possible, doubling or triple recipes to have leftovers for later in the week can be a time-saver and help you meet your meal planning goals.
When meal planning, be sure to plan to eat from all five food groups each day – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy or fortified soy products. Try to avoid foods with added sugars, saturated fat and sodium. It is also important to drink water and limit beverages with added sugars or alcohol. This will help to ensure you are getting enough fluids, and you will be reducing your calorie intake at the same time. You can learn more about healthy eating and meal planning by contacting a registered dietitian, who will be able to provide you with a personalized, nutritious meal plan suited to your unique needs. Kostplanering